An innovative partnership between the leading private media group in the Middle East and top television writers and showrunners from the United States is taking a different approach: tackling the war of narratives. It might sound strange, or even frivolous, in the midst of an all-out war against the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. But, in fact, it makes perfect sense, given the cultural, ideological nature of the larger battle against extremism.
In January 2010, secretary of state Hillary Clinton stood before the world and delivered a landmark address, calling the internet a “new nervous system for the planet.” She was describing an emerging State Department doctrine known as the “internet freedom agenda,” which built on a universal declaration that “people have the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
An interview with Anne Applebaum about disinformation, soft power, and Russia.
Many people of the region today believe that the ISIS communication approach is so slick, so technological, so modern that it cannot be the work of jihadists recruited in the hinterlands of poor Muslim countries alone. There is surely something big and sophisticated behind it, with an objective in mind: kick Islamism where it hurts the most: religious credibility.
Putin perfectly understood the power of the media that helped propel his famously unpopular predecessor Boris Yeltsin into power in 1996. So the first thing he did after assuming the presidency in 2000 was to force all the major TV channels to submit to his will. Oligarch owners were either co-opted, jailed or exiled, and by 2006 most major Russian media were either directly or indirectly under Putin’s administration’s control.
VOA began radio broadcasting in 1942, to combat Nazi propaganda. Per its charter, it is mandated to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” Since WWII, it has been the front-edge of America’s informational interface with citizens around the world, particularly those battling dictatorships and tyranny. [...] VOA is the largest public diplomacy program of the United States government and broadcasts in more than 40 languages.